Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Laura and Halloween

Laura was barely a month old for her first Halloween. My neighbor gave us an infant pumpkin costume that was huge even on Laura but looked adorable. She was so tiny. She weighed just over 6 pounds.

My sister had a Halloween party for my nephew who was 3 at the time. I took Laura and have memories of my dad holding her as she cried that little newborn cry.

My friend along with her daughter, took Laura to mall-o-ween. I knew she wouldn't get much out of it, but it was fun seeing the kids. I remember Shannon feeding Laura in the van as I occupied her daughter.

On Halloween night, Israel held her as he gave out candy. The neighbors liked to meet her. After she fell asleep in her swing, we cringed when the door bell rang and ended up closing doors early so she could sleep. That was the last and only Halloween she had with her biological father.

When she was one, she liked the idea of dressing up and getting stuff. My friend and I took her to the mall for their mall-o-ween. We met her uncle there. Laura was a bumble bee and was walking around. Halloween night we took her to a few houses but she got fed up pretty quickly.

She was an angel at 2. She looked adorable and definitely was more in the spirit. We went to the Phillies parade that day because they won the World Series. She went to many houses with me, my dad and my nephew.

At 3, she was tinker bell. It was a fun night, but towards the end, it started to pour rain. We did quite a bit of houses but came home soaking wet.

At 4, she was a witch. She walked in the Halloween parade with my nephew. Jeff took off and was able to go trick or treating. She said Trick or Treating and we were out the whole time. It was cold out and we all went as a group -my sister, my dad, my nephew, Jeff, Laura and me.

This year, she wanted to be sleeping beauty so I got the costume. I ordered it online and Laura said it was too scratchy. So now she is a blue/purple dragon and is warmer. She looks quite cute.

Halloween time

I have mixed emotions about Halloween. The negative side is that it means winter is coming. However, I do enjoy October colors, decorations, and activities. Having a daughter adds to the fun and experience.

As a child, I wasn't thrilled about Halloween because everyone knew who I was. My dad would carry me into houses and I didn't like being cold. I'm glad he did it though and it was my decision to stop going when I was 6 or 7.

I enjoyed sitting at home helping my parents hand out candy. I liked watching all the kids come by in their costumes. I'd eat candy and when my brother and sisters came home, they would share theirs with me.

When I was about 9, we entered in the local Halloween parade. We went each year, even though I hated the cold and the sirens of the firetruck. I did enjoy seeing the floats and kids.

So when I was 9, my mom took a cardboard box and drew a jungle theme. She cut a hole big enough to fit my head through and I wore a monkey mask. She fit the cardboard around my chair. I was able to participate in Halloween!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Shower at last

Independence is a huge word for someone with a disability. It's a word I have heard since childhood. Doctors explaining how I would probably not be independent at mostly anything. Then therapist telling me that if I did more of what they tell me, that I would be more independent.

I have become more independent throughout my life. I was finally able to sit on my own around 4. Granted it was the dreadful W position. Yet everyone told me that I shouldn't sit that way because I wouldn't be able to move at 20. I am 36 and still crawling and hopping around.

Most of my life, I needed to be lifted into the bathtub. I know it wasn't easy even though I'm not heavy. It certainly wasn't easy on me trying to control all my muscles to go into one area. I also worried about hurting someone too in the process.

In 2006, my brother and friend put in a shower that I could crawl in/out of. I was seven months pregnant and it was not worth the risk of my baby, myself or anyone else to get hurt. I can't tell you how nice it was to get in and out myself. No more worrying!!

In the back of my mind, I always thought how nice it would be to be able to turn water off/on. Dressing myself isn't the easiest but can be done with the magic of elastic. So it wouldn't be a big problem if I needed to get ready on my own or just wanted to.

Before Jeff and I were even engaged or dating long, he said his dream was to help make my house as accessible as possible. He mentioned lowering the controls in the shower so I can get clean when I want. I thought it was a fantastic idea.

This past week the reality finally came. Granted we were out of a working shower for about 9-10 days but our YMCA is so close, that it wasn't terrible. Today we have a beautiful white tile shower with controls that I can use. I even took two showers today simply because I could!

Laura is happy with it too. She said that now she won't have to stop playing to occasionally turn on/off the shower.
Now on to more renovating.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Laura turns five

On September 21, Laura turned 5 years old. I never thought this could happen, but on that day I saw a change. She matured and looked even taller. My baby wasn't a baby anymore but a young girl.

We spent the day having fun!! At pre school, I sent in cupcakes and juice. They sung Happy Birthday and she wore her birthday girl shirt. When she was at school, me, Jeff and Donna (my personal care attendant ) hid half of her presents. Unfortunately, Jeff had to work 12-9 but the night before, we took her to her favourite Chinese restaurant and gave her a present. Ariel princess dolls for the tub.

My dad had off that day so we picked Laura up from school together. We came home and she enjoyed finding her gifts. She threw her arms around me and said how much she loved me.

After that, she played outside with my dad, played with her furreal dog. Then she did her Spanish homework. By then it was time to pick up my nephew with a trip to Chuck E Cheese!

She had a blast. Even though I can't do everything with her, I watch, root her on and support her. Some other kids stare and Laura just ignores them or says "she has cerebral palsy. "

After three hours of play, pizza and fun, we went back to the house for red velvet cake and the rest of her presents. Fun day!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dancing

Having a disability at a bar or somewhere people dance is interesting. People have no idea how to react.

My experience dancing has been relatively great. However, sometimes people get a little carried away when seeing me. I have gotten kissed unwantedly by men and women. I have gotten stared at, looked down on and told how wonderful I am by perfect strangers.

Once a lady grabbed my arm and told me to look at her and calm down!! My arm hurt for a day or so.

From their point of view, I do understand to a certain degree. When I watch a movie about someone overcoming their challlenges, I also feel proud and happy for them. I don't think I'd jump up and kiss someone though.

I think if someone would like to be my friend, then just say hi and talk to me. Otherwise , smile and just be happy. I'll let you live if you let me.

How society views people who have cerebral palsy

Have you ever had a day when you forget that you have cerebral palsy? You simply wake up, do your normal routine and don't even think ab...